A 51-year-old domestic worker in Mombasa has been forced to quit her job after her boss started making bizarre requests.
Chidzuga Mwangoka (not her real name) quit her job around November last year after working for her boss for more than 10 years following disputes over poor pay, long working hours and overwhelming duties.
However, after about a month, the boss, an Indian businessman with interests in the textile industry, called her and asked her to come back to work for him, saying he would meet her demands.
“I agreed to go back and work for him,” Mwangoka said.
Speaking to the Star at the Muslim for Human Rights clinic next to the Mombasa Law Courts on Tuesday, Mwangoka said her boss started asking for massages about mid last month.
“At first, I thought the requests were innocent because he would complain of tiredness or having muscle pains,” Mwangoka narrated.
She said her boss used to ask her to massage his legs, feet, hands and back.
“However, slowly he started asking me to massage his thighs and I started feeling uncomfortable,”Mwangoka said.
All this while, the boss became generous and even gifted her a fridge and a 42 inch TV.
“I thought my quitting the job had made him realise he needed a house help because of the expansive house he lives in with only his third wife,” Mwangoka said.
The businessman, who lives in the posh estate of Kizingo, has four children form his two previous marriages.
His two former wives both died and his four children live in the UK.
The man does not have a child with his third wife.
Towards the end of December, during the festive season, the requests became more bizarre.
Mwangoka said her boss demanded that she gives him a full body massage.
“What surprised me is that he would call me into the massage room and I would find him stark naked, lying on his belly, waiting for me to massage him,” she said.
Her protests were usually met with threats of the sack.
She obliged, massaging the boss even in his private parts.
According to Mwangoka, her boss used to ask her to ‘wash’ his anal passage with neem tree concoction using a hosepipe.
“After that he would go to the toilet to diarrhoea before coming back and wanting a massage,” said Mwangoka.
“After that, the man used to fart a lot. I could not take it anymore. I feared he might give me some weird diseases.”
She took advantage of his new-found generosity and borrowed Sh8,000, which she lied was to seek medication for her ailing relative, but instead she bought a smart phone so she could record one of the sessions as evidence.
Muhuri rapid response officer Francis Auma said that is a classic case of sexual harassment.
The matter has been reported at the Central police station under OB 33/21/01/2020.
Auma said cases of sexual harassment in Mombasa are on the rise, especially in posh neighbourhoods of Kizingo, Nyali and Tudor.
“These areas are mostly exclusive and secretive. Police do not go to these areas because the who-is-who of Mombasa stay there and value their privacy, behind which lies a lot of ills,” said Auma.
He called on police to probe the matter and arrest Mwangoka’s boss.
“Many people, especially female domestic workers, suffer in silence because they feel there is nothing they can do,” said Auma.
Last year, Muhuri said they recorded 20 serious cases of sexual harassment and gender-based violence.
“This year we have started on a worrying note. This is not the first case we have received,” said Auma.
He however lamented the difficulty in prosecuting such cases because in most cases, victims do not come out openly due to shame and fear of their bosses.
“It then becomes hard to convince them to report such to the police. They come to us for help but don’t want to record statements, saying they fear losing their jobs,” said Auma.
He noted that there are many foreigners, especially Tanzanians and Ugandans, who also undergo such treatment at private homes and in bars because their entry into Kenya is usually questionable.
“In Magongo, for example, there are many Ugandan women working in bars where they are constantly sexually harassed by patrons but they fear protesting lest they lose their jobs,” said the rapid response officer.
Police said they will conduct thorough investigations into Mwangoka’s case.
The Star/ Brian Otieno